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Gravesend & Northfleet 1 Harriers 2

Date: 24-09-05 Venue: Stonebridge Road att: 1054 away fans: 102
Away form keeps hopes high
Following all the criticism from the fans after two woeful performances at Aggborough last week the Harriers went back on the road and came back with three valuable points.    Now if we can arrange to play all our games away from home then we'd all be happy.

That slating they got after the games against FGR and Halifax was well deserved because it highlighted all of the basic errors that were being made by both the team and the manager.    The team because they had got into a 'belt it over the top' syndrome and the gaffer because he refused to change the line-up of a team that had got some glaring failings, especially in midfield and defence.    Admittedly the changes he made today were forced on him by the un-availability of Martin O'Connor and Wayne Graves but they were now playing as a team together and not a team of strangers.

The game was still being played straight down the channels but the defence did their job properly and kept it tight at the back, for the majority of the game, protecting John Danby as much as possible.    John also had one of his better games and made two world class saves during the first half.

The first sight of goal came from us after twenty minutes of play when we were awarded a free kick twenty five yards from the Gravesend goal.    Laurie Wilson took it but it sailed clean over the bar.    Gravesends Protheroe was booked for the tackle on Michael Blackwood that led up to the free kick.

Wilson found his own name in the referee's book just a minute later following a similar foul on Danny Slatter but their free kick came to nothing.

Five minutes later and we had taken a deserved lead.   Following a few jinks, Issey Christie took the ball around Ross Smith and Lee Protheroe to slip it to Blackwood who then played the ball to the quickly arriving Christie to slot it into the net for his fifth goal of the season.

Gravesend hit back with two attempts on goal that produced the two Danby saves mentioned earlier.    The first one when Charlie MacDonald sent in a header from six yards out and Danby leapt to push it against the bar in a save reminiscent of the Gordon Banks save in the World Cup.    The second save came from a shot by Bowry just before the break when he somehow managed to get his fingertips to it just before it crept inside the post.
HT: 0 - 1
We went further in front towards the start of the second half with a goal from Wayne Hatswell following a corner.    The ball came over and fell just right for Hatswell who was waiting on the centre spot to crack the ball home for goal number two.

Gravesend made a substitution afterwards with Manny Omoyinmi coming on in place of the injured Slatter and then started to put some pressure onto the Harriers defence.    The pressure paid dividends because the home team managed to pull a goal back just five minutes later through Charlie MacDonald when he met a cross from Bowry to volley the ball home from eighteen yards out.

With the chance of a comeback in sight Gravesend continued to pressurise us but for once no mistakes were made and the back row held firm.    We had a great chance to further our lead on sixty five minutes when Blackwood drilled in a left footed shot from the edge of the penalty area but, with a goal looking guaranteed, a Gravesend defender somehow managed to get back to clear it off the line.

By the time the ninety minutes were up we had managed to hold on to the lead, got the three points, consolidated our place in mid table, and buried some of those demons that have been infiltrating our game in recent weeks.

Now if we can do it all again at Crawley on Tuesday night then the fans might, just might, be a bit happier than they were on Wednesday morning.
FT: 1 - 2

 Goal for Gravesend: MacDonald 62
 Goals for Harriers: Christie 25, Hatswell 57

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Gravesend  subs   cards      Harriers  subs   cards 
Holloway     Danby  
Protheroe gif   Evans gif
Skinner     Hatswell  
J Jackson     Wilson gif
McCarthy     M Jackson  
Saunders     Burgess  
Drury     Fleming  
Bowry     Heslop gif
Slatter     Christie  
MacDonald     Russell  
Graham-Smith     Blackwood  
SUBS:       SUBS:    
Kerr     Burton  
Omoyinmi     Atieno  
Surey     Thompson  
Gooding     Hurren  
Grant     Sheldon  

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